Some people might see a business trip to Washington, D.C., as chance to tour the historic sights, or eat in nice restaurants, or even do some work. For me, it was an expenses-paid opportunity to meet a whole new crop of speed daters!
And a bumper crop it was. Unlike Philadelphia, where the pickings have been slim lately, the nightclub where this after-work event was held (and yes, it’s weird to line up behind a velvet rope in broad daylight) was packed. The daters were seated on opposing rows of bench-style couches, close enough to touch and hear your neighbors. It made it easy to meet the other girls. The first one I talked to seemed almost as experienced in the field as me. She had taken off early from her 80-hour-a-week job for the event, but after assessing the available men, she left before the dating started. On her way out, she warned me to stay from a guy named Shiva because “he’s at all of these events and dates all the girls.”
After my first few speed dates, I would have settled for a guy who I actually believed ever dated girls. Having spent a couple years as Grace to the ski town equivalent of Will, I pride myself on my gaydar…and it was blaring. Take, for example, the guy who told me about the renovations on his house. “You should see the bathroom floor,” he gushed. “It’s gorgeous.”
And no, I don’t know why he thought his home improvement was a good subject for our four-minute conversation. But it was a common one. The guys who weren’t gay were, for the most part, unusually, impressively BORING. When asked about the area where he lived, one said, “It’s good. Houses retain their value around there.”
To be fair, he probably thought real estate was a relevant topic because I said I was planning to move to DC. I knew attending an event in a strange city would seem even weirder to speed daters than it does to you, so I started with this as my cover. But after wasting a couple entire dates explaining the elaborate story, I gave up, adopted some parts of my DC friends’ lives, transferred my job from the Philly branch to the DC office of my company, and started saying I had “recently” moved to the city (to avoid those pesky questions about where I like to hang out). I was nearly busted when a guy asked the location of my office, but thankfully he was willing to settle for “near Capitol Hill.”
I’m not sure whether it was the lying, the boredom or the TWENTY-THREE dates I had been on, but after two hours I was exhausted. Earlier in the evening, I had gotten some breaks because there was the usual imbalance between men and women, but I didn’t see any upcoming gaps in my line-up. I was just pondering my escape route– could I leap over the back of couch wearing heels and a pencil skirt in the time it took a guy to slide across one seat?– when, at last, the event ended.
Disappointingly, I never did get to meet Shiva.